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One of the principles at the heart of the Bishop of Southwark’s vision for the Diocese is that of vocational renewal. The role of Diocesan Champion for Ordained Vocations is key in promoting the ministries of priest and distinctive deacon across this diverse Diocese, and to encourage vocational discernment to these ministries; to be the first port of call for those considering a vocation to priesthood or the distinctive diaconate; and to provide and support creative and imaginative resources for incumbents and deaneries that will enable them to identify and discern vocations to ordained ministry.
There has been considerable growth in terms of vocations recently as a result of our Diocesan strategies and resourcing: the number entering training for ordained ministry since 2015 increased by 120%. Of those currently in training, 25% are BAME, 30% are ‘younger vocations’ (classified by the Ministry Division as being aged 32 or under), and 40% are women. We are keen to continue to grow our numbers in these key demographic areas as part of our commitment to the Southwark Vision. By reimagining our wide-ranging programme of events, which currently includes Vocations Conferences, Vocations Retreats and Quiet Days, and Vocations Fairs, we hope to see further vocational flourishing for ordained ministry, and the post holder is key to achieving this aim.
This is a full-time role. However, in order to facilitate and resource vocational discernment with integrity, the Diocesan Champion for Ordained Vocations will be licensed to a church in the Diocese, which will enable the post holder to develop and be grounded in their own vocation and ministry, as well as providing them with a praying community and stable base for worship.
Accountable to the Director of Vocations (who is also the DDO), and working closely with her, the Assistant Director of Vocations, the Director of Discipleship and Ministry and Director of Mission and Evangelism, as well as a large, voluntary Vocations Team of around 70 people, lay and ordained, this post offers a challenging and exciting opportunity to take significant responsibility for an area of work that forms a vital part of the Bishop’s strategy for vocational renewal within the Diocese, and the work of the Renewal and Reform programme in the Church of England more widely.
- Organize and plan initiatives to enable people to explore ordained ministry, expanding and renewing the current cycle of Vocations Fairs, Vocations Weekends, Vocations Retreats and Quiet Days, and presentations to deaneries and parishes. The successful candidate will be expected to be creative in devising and delivering fresh initiatives for the promotion of ordained ministry, and also to forge closer links with other Diocesan teams (such as the Board of Education and Area Trios) in order to bring a vocations perspective to their events.
- Organize, plan, and deliver particular initiatives for the promotion of the distinctive diaconate within the Diocese.
- Undertake in-depth work with deaneries and incumbents to strategize for the discernment and nurture of those who might be called to ministry as priests and distinctive deacons in the Diocese of Southwark.
- Focus on encouraging and expanding our target groups for ordained ministry. There is a particular demand in the Diocese for initiatives to encourage and support ordained vocations among young people; potential self-supporting ministers; women; and vocations among Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Anglicans. Liaising with the Diocesan Vocations Champions in these areas will be a key task in delivering vocations initiatives.
- Take responsibility for the production and updating of literature and publicity about ordained ministry, and work closely with the Deputy Director of Lay Discipleship and Ministry in producing literature and publicity relating to lay ministries under the Vocations Department’s ‘branding’.
- Be a contact point for enquirers about ordained ministry in the Diocese, the Diocesan discernment process, and the vocations initiatives that are taking place within the Diocese.
- Participate as a member of the appropriate Diocesan groups and committees in order to help shape policy and strategy.
- Provide consultancy for incumbents/chaplains in fostering vocational renewal and the discernment of ordained vocations in their parishes and chaplaincies. This includes the raising of the profile of ‘vocation’ more widely in schools and other educational establishments in the Diocese.
- Liaise proactively with the whole range of groups with a specific interest in vocational development: the Diocesan Vocations Team, the Deputy Director of Lay Discipleship and Ministry, and members of other Diocesan departments.
- Oversee and develop the work of the Diocesan Vocations Champions in order to encourage and support local networks as part of the work of breathing of new life into deaneries. There are currently in the Diocese Champions for Young Vocations and BAME Vocations.
- Strategize and take responsibility for the oversight and development of learning communities and pastoral assistant schemes within the Diocese. This may include setting up a scheme under the national MES programme, and involve liaising with the Ministry Division and the MES network nationally.
- Be up-to-date with national developments in vocations initiatives through liaison with the Ministry Division and national networks of Vocations Advisers in the Church of England.
- Attend Vocations Team meetings and meetings with the DDO; and undertake any training as required.
- Develop high-quality resources for Ember Days and Vocations Sundays; and make arrangements for deploying members of the Vocations Team to preach across the Diocese systematically on the theme of vocation.
Vocational Discernment and Training
- If suitably qualified, take on the role of an Area Director of Ordinands, discerning the vocation of candidates for ordained ministry, and making recommendations to the Diocesan Bishop on the suitability of candidates for sponsorship for BAPs.
- Assist the Director and Assistant Director of Vocations in recruiting and training members of the Diocesan Vocations Team.
- Play a part, in collaboration with the Director of Vocations, in resourcing new incumbents in the Diocese in vocational discernment.
- Recruit and manage a new team of resourcers ‘on the ground’; and, together with this team, provide training for incumbents and members of Deanery Chapters, so that clergy might be encouraged and enabled to be renewed in their vocation, and equipped to discern the vocation of others.
- Ordained priest of the Church of England, or a Church in communion with it.
- A sound base of theological and educational knowledge with a willingness to develop further.
- Working successfully with a wide range of church traditions and styles of ministry.
- A demonstrable interest in, and some experience of, encouraging and discerning vocation.
- Effective communication with a wide range of individuals and groups, and presentation of clear oral and written material.
- Ability for effective strategic thinking and planning.
- Highly organized, able to work to tight deadlines and handle conflicting priorities.
- Able to relate to and consult with people at all levels.
- Ability for wise and skilful discernment of vocation.
- Relate well across a wide spectrum of people from different social, ecclesiological, and ethnic backgrounds.
- IT skills for effective writing, research and presentation, including email, Word and Power Point.
- Willingness to work on own initiative and be accountable.
- Able to work flexible hours, including regular evening and weekend commitments.
- Willingness to travel around the Diocese.
- Knowledge of the Selection Criteria in the Church of England.
- Knowledge of the range and requirements of Diocesan and national licensed and accredited ministries.
The Diocese of Southwark, founded in 1905, forms part of the Province of Canterbury in England and is part of the wider Church of England, in turn part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Diocese covers primarily the area of Greater London which is South of the Thames, together with the Eastern part of the county of Surrey. It is one of the largest dioceses in terms of population and parishes as well as one of the most diverse.
The Diocese of Southwark serves a growing population of 2.8 million people across south London and East Surrey, an area of rich variety and diversity, through its network of 292 parishes, 358 churches, 190 of which are listed places of worship. There are 106 church schools across the Diocese, 15 of which are secondary schools.